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Being sore was part of the job, but with Bakugou it was worse, and Todoroki was dreading the aches he was going to have all over his body when he woke up the next morning. He was already sore; Bakugou was mercilessly biting down on bruises he’d made earlier, clawing his nails into Todoroki’s purpling hips as Bakugou pounded into him from behind. He bit at the sheets to keep himself from grunting in pain, but his back arched of its own accord and he cried out when Bakugou backhanded his ass.

“You like my cock, slut?”

“Fuck off,” Todoroki hissed, and Bakugou slapped him again.

“What the fuck did you say?” he growled, yanking Todoroki up by his two-toned hair.

Todoroki closed his eyes, gritted his teeth, and then let out his best high-pitched moan. “I love your fucking cock, daddy,” he crooned, “love the way you use me. Want more daddy, more, please, more!” Bakugou bit down on his shoulder and he felt his skin tear. He grimaced and blinked tears out of his eyes as the noises Bakugou was making became louder, more animalistic, and he was pushed forward until his body was pressed flat to the mattress, his breathing alarmingly muffled by the blanket below him while Bakugou held him down as he came. When Bakugou went limp Todoroki pushed him off and rolled over, catching his breath.

Todoroki caught the whiff of cigarette smoke and turned to face the blond. Bakugou was sitting at the edge of the bed, lit cigarette pressed to his lips.

“Isn’t this a non-smoking room?” Todoroki asked.

“What are you, a fucking narc?”

Todoroki sighed. “I want one.” Bakugou obliged and Todoroki placed it between his lips, letting Bakugou light it. Todoroki made a face as he inhaled -- he usually only smoked menthols -- but the nicotine was soothing regardless, and it helped him forget about the sorry state his body was in for a moment.

After he ashed the cigarette he stood up and began to rummage around on the floor for his clothes. Bakugou looked at him haughtily from the bed. “Where do you think you’re going?”

“I’m leaving. You got what you paid for.”

“If I pay you for more will you give me more?”

Todoroki sighed, fist clenching in the pants he was holding. “You want more ?”

“How much for the rest of the night?”

“You wanna do this all night ?”

“How much?”

“I haven’t even fucking eaten dinner.”

“Fine then. Get dressed, we’ll go get dinner, and then we’ll come back here.”

Todoroki ran his hand through his hair, the only tell that he was trying to make up his mind, and then pulled his pants on. “Fine. But no more marking when we get back. I’m gonna have these for weeks.”

“Good,” Bakugou smirked. “Let everyone know who you belong to.”

“I don’t fucking belong to you, Bakugou.”

“As long as I’m paying you, you don’t seem to wanna leave, so I’m gonna call that bluff,” Bakugou whispered in his ear as he walked past him to grab his own clothes off of the floor. Once his pants were on and his blouse was lazily buttoned up to his chest, Bakugou walked over to the minibar on the far wall and quickly downed a glass of whiskey. He grabbed his wallet and a set of keys and placed them in his pants pockets, and then his gun, stuffing it in the waistband of his pants.

“Why do you need a gun to go to dinner?”

“I’m Katsuki fucking Bakugou. Why would I go anywhere without a gun?”

---

They went to a high-end restaurant, decorated with glimmering crystal chandeliers and tealights and arrangements of orchids at each of the tables. It was crowded but the pair was seated immediately, in an alcove out of sight from most other guests. Sometimes being Bakugou’s plaything had its perks, admittedly.

They were halfway through their meal, and Todoroki well into his third glass of red wine, when their waiter walked up to the table, a slightly concerned look on his face. “The man at the bar wants to talk to you, Bakugou, sir.”

“Tell him not tonight.”

“He said it’s urgent, sir.”

“Have him call Denki or Mina. They’ll handle it.”

“He said it needs to be you.” The waiter recoiled as Bakugou balled his hand into a fist on the table, but the blond managed to relax himself.

“Fine. Bring an extra chair over for him.”

The waiter nodded and left, returning a few moments later with a chair, a man following behind him. He looked like he didn’t belong in the restaurant at all, wearing a ratty dark grey hoodie and baggy jeans, his light blue hair unkempt and hanging limp and greasy around his face. He sat down and brushed some of his hair behind an ear, revealing some of the most chapped lips Todoroki had ever seen.

“Who’s this?” the man asked, his voice nasally and aggravating, nodding his head towards Todoroki.

“Not a business partner, so keep your fucking mouth shut.”

“No? A pet then?”

Todoroki bristled, but didn’t say anything.

“Could you be any more aggravating?” Bakugou replied. “What’s so important that you need to interrupt me during dinner, Shigaraki?”

The blue-haired man pouted. “I need your expertise, Bakugou. Bunch of street thugs stole a shipment. Need you to show them why that’s a no-no. Make a statement like only you can. Light them up.”

Bakugou glared at Shigaraki with narrowed eyes. “Not tonight.”

“We won’t know where they are after tonight.”

“Not my fuckin’ problem.”

Shigaraki tapped yellow, untrimmed fingernails against the table. “All for One is going to be disappointed when I tell him your allegiance to the League is fading.” There was just a hint of a sneer on his thin lips, and when Bakugou threw the cloth napkin that had been on his lap onto the table, Todoroki could tell that it meant Shigaraki had won.

“Send me the location.” He threw cash to pay for their unfinished meal on the table and then stood up. “Come on,” he gestured to Todoroki. “I’ll drop you off at the hotel. Order whatever you want for dinner once you’re there.”  

Todoroki drifted off on the ride back, and it was only when he opened his eyes that he realized that they were definitely not driving towards their hotel. They were in the industrial section of the city, driving through block after block of warehouses.

“I thought you said you were dropping me off at the hotel,” Todoroki whispered, not bothering to hide the concern in his voice.

“No time,” Bakugou said, distracted, as he read the numbers of the side of warehouse buildings. “Aha.” He put the car in park. “Do not get out of the fucking car, you understand?”

“Wouldn’t dream of it,” Todoroki said, rolling his eyes.

Bakugou got out of the car and opened the trunk, pulling out what looked like some sort of huge gun on a tripod. Bakugou smoked a cigarette as he set the contraption up facing a garage door at the front of the warehouse. Then he pulled his own gun out and walked up to the main entrance next to the garage door, checking his surroundings before kicking it open.

It was silent for a few minutes, and then Todoroki jumped as he heard a commotion, yelling, and several gunshots. Todoroki reached for his phone, but quickly realized there was no one he could call. A prostitute calling the cops while out with a gangster? Not liable to go very well. He could call Inasa, but his boyfriend would probably murder him for being so careless with a client. Or maybe Yagi, but, no, his pride wouldn’t let him call his pimp to get him out of trouble, even if he would be so gracious and willing to. Too doting. Too kind about these kinds of things.

So he sat and waited with bated breath for the commotion to finally quiet down. He started to panic after a period of extended silence, looked at the keys in the ignition and considered taking off, but just as he reached for them to turn the car back on, the garage door slowly lifted up. It was too far away for him to see exactly what was inside it, but the mass of limp bodies on the ground was unmistakable. Someone was walking out of the garage, towards the car, and from his stride Todoroki could tell it was Bakugou. He exhaled and slumped down into his seat, relieved, and watched as Bakugou walked back to the gun he’d set up facing the garage and fired it.

Todoroki realized what it was as he watched the inside of the warehouse garage go up in flames, the blast from the explosion rocking the car a little bit. Bakugou packed up the rocket launcher and walked back to the car. Once the smoke cleared he put it back in the trunk as casually as if he was packing up a grill after a barbecue.

He sat down in the driver's seat and tossed a metal briefcase into Todoroki’s lap.

“What’s this?”

“Shipment.” Bakugou was sporting a fresh shiner, and there was caked blood on his forehead and hands. Even though he couldn't see it, Todoroki was sure that his black clothes were be stained with blood too. “Don’t fucking open it,” Bakugou added when Todoroki started to fiddle with it.

“Fine, sorry.” Todoroki paused as Bakugou started the car back up. “You keep a rocket launcher in your car?”

“What, you don’t?”

Todoroki snorted, genuinely amused at his inability to tell whether Bakugou was being serious or not. He glimpsed a small smile flit over Bakugou’s face for a moment before his usual scowl returned.

They dropped the briefcase off at an unmarked post office box in the middle of the city, and then that was that.

Back at the hotel, Bakugou showered and Todoroki ended up falling asleep while waiting for him. He woke up in the middle of the night to Bakugou pressed up against his back, whimpering in his sleep as his hands clawed into Todoroki’s stomach, holding onto him for dear life.

Bakugou’s choice of profession must also take a toll on him, he supposed.

He’d had dangerous clients before. Hell, his boss was considered a dangerous and formidable man, even in his retirement. But Bakugou was different. Bakugou was the first client he’d ever had who legitimately scared him, and if he didn’t do something about it soon he was worried that he was going to end up part of something that he wanted to stay as far away from as possible.

 

---

 

The first time Bakugou walked into Club Plus Ultra, he’d been fifteen, and he’d strode into the strip club with same swagger as the older men who he had walked in with. The bouncer had given him a dark look and placed his hand on Bakugou’s chest to stop him from going in. “No funny business,” he said, pushing his long dark hair out of his face. “You touch a single one of the dancers and I’ll personally ensure that you’re never able to physically walk into this establishment again.”

Bakugou brushed him off. “Whatever, Scruffy. You don’t gotta worry about that.”

There had been no need to worry because none of the dancers that night had been male. He was only there to drink and get high in private, which the owners of the club curiously turned a blind eye to.

Later, when Bakugou learned that the club had gay nights, he started showing up much more often -- started showing up on his own.

He was eighteen, in a shadowed booth at the back of the club smoking a cigarette and nursing a gin and tonic, watching the men dance from a distance, when a startlingly tall, lanky figure slid into the booth next to him.

“Bakugou, yes?” the man asked, his voice gentle and firm. Bakugou’s hand subconsciously reached towards the gun tucked into his pants. He didn’t say anything and the man continued. “You’re in here a lot.”

“What’s it to you?” he spat.

“From the stories I’ve heard about you, young Bakugou, one would think you’re much older than you are.”

“And?” he said, swishing his drink around in his glass.

“Would you like to meet any of them?”

Bakugou turned to face the man, confused, and then saw that he was looking in the direction of the dancers. His face colored and he slouched back into the booth.

The tall man bellowed with a surprisingly hearty chuckle for his frail body. “The name’s Toshinori Yagi,” he said, offering a large, gnarled hand. “My husband and I own this establishment.”

Bakugou stared at him, open-mouthed. This was Toshinori Yagi? Retired underground fight club champion and right-hand man of Nana, the most infamous crime boss in the underground, at least before the League had snuffed her out?

And Toshinori Yagi had heard stories about him ?

“You don’t look like--” Bakugou started, deciding that deriding Yagi’s appearance would be the best way to deflect his sudden self-consciousness.

“--Like I could crush a man with a single fist?” Yagi answered for him, clenching his spindly fingers together. “Live the kind of life I used to for long enough and it’s bound to break you, sooner or later.” He sounded slightly wistful, but Bakugou wondered if he also sensed a hint of a warning laced in with the nostalgia as well. Yagi sighed. “But you’re not here for a lecture. Come on. I’ll take you backstage.”

Bakugou wasn’t going to argue with that.

Bakugou had been surrounded by men, surrounded by violent and brash overt displays of masculinity his entire life. And there was a homosociality inherent in it, loyal bonds deeper than brotherhood. But the homoeroticism of Yagi’s club was something different, and as Yagi led him backstage and he glimpsed man after man in various states of undress helping each other get ready or wipe down from the show, Bakugou felt his whole body heat up. They walked down the hallways, past dressing room after chaotic dressing room, and then Yagi stopped in front of a closed door. He knocked. “Shouta, dear, can I come in?”

A muffled “yeah,” from inside, and Yagi opened the door.

They stepped into a small office, the grey walls, filing cabinets, and fluorescent lights startlingly bland compared to the rest of the club. The bouncer who was at the door most nights pried his eyes away from a spreadsheet on the computer in front of him and rolled around in a desk chair to face them.

“This is my husband, Shouta Aizawa. You’ve probably seen him at the door before.”

“Sure have. What’s the point of this again?”

“Hi, Bakugou. Nice to formally meet you. Could you sit down over there, please?” Aizawa gestured nonchalantly to a worn leather couch on the far wall of the office. “I can handle the rest, Tosh. Go get some rest.”

Yagi nodded and left, squeezing Bakugou’s shoulder as he walked past him.

“What’s all this about?” Bakugou asked, sitting on the couch and sinking into the well-worn cushion a little bit.

“It’s kind of like a consultation,” Aizawa said matter-of-factly. “You’ve seen the face we show to the world,” he said, gesturing in the direction of the vague thump of bass that could still be heard from the office. “But I guess Toshinori got a sense that you might be interested in,” Aizawa paused, rifling through a folder and pulling out a packet of papers, “the underbelly.” He grabbed a pen from his desk and clicked it.

Bakugou’s eyebrows knitted together in confusion. “Who do you guys work for?”

Aizawa shook his head. “No one. Not anymore.”

“Then what the fuck is this? You trying to kidnap me or some shit?”

Aizawa snorted. “Only if that’s what you’re into.”

“Fuck off,” Bakugou said, standing up and starting to make his way to the door.

“Escort services, Bakugou.” Bakugou stopped walking. “Male escort services.”

The blond turned around. Aizawa’s lips were pulled up in a smirk, his teeth gleaming. He shifted in his seat, leaning back with paper and pen in his hand. “Would you be interested in meeting our boys, Bakugou?”

He gritted his teeth and sat back down. “Yes.”

Aizawa nodded thoughtfully. “Yagi wanted to wait until you were of age. You are of age, right?”

“Yes.”

“So, tell me, Bakugou. What’re you into?”

Bakugou sputtered, his cheeks going red as he crossed his arms and sank further into the couch. “Fuck kinda question is that?”

“A necessary one, if you’re going to have a good time.” Aizawa propelled himself forward in the rolling chair until he was only a couple feet away from Bakugou, face-to-face with him. He showed his teeth again, grinning. “You a virgin, Bakugou?”

Bakugou felt his face go crimson and he turned away from Aizawa, looking pointedly down at the leather on the couch. “The last time someone asked me a bullshit question like that I splattered their brains across the pavement,” Bakugou hissed, barely a whisper. He saw Aizawa check a box on his sheet of paper out of the corner of his eye.

“May I get closer for a moment, Bakugou?”

“Wha--” Aizawa leaned forward, his hand reaching out towards Bakugou’s cheek and jaw. Bakugou snarled and slapped his hand away. “What the fuck was that?!”

Aizawa ignored him, muttering to himself as he wrote. “Needs to be in control of things… good to know…”

“What the fuck are you blabbering on about?” Bakugou snapped, his heart beating rapidly.

Aizawa sighed. “Just read over this packet, check off everything you think you might be into. Cross off what you know you're definitely not into. Sign the waiver, leave it on the desk when you’re done. Oh, and make sure you’re clear on the pricing. The boys set their own prices. Costs a pretty penny.”

“Pretty fuckin’ thorough for dealing in back-alley whores.”

Aizawa stood up and handed Bakugou the packet and the pen, frowning. “Escorts.”

“Same fuckin’ difference.”

A few days later he had sex for the first time, and over the coming months and into years he fucked his way through whore after whore. He revelled in the sense of power sex gave him, a different kind of feeling than the power he felt whenever he fought or killed. It was more fluid, like water simmering slowly to a boil, than the explosive force of violence.

It was a power he could relax into, and Yagi’s men were always oh so obliging.

And then he’d met Shouto Todoroki, who had made it a point to not be obliging, who pushed back against every demand Bakugou made, who forced him to take it from him rather than just rolling over and being an obedient, passive party to Bakugou’s needs.

It drove him fucking insane, and the fact that he couldn’t tell whether or not Todoroki actually hated him or was just playing at being hot-and-cold towards him turned him on even more. He’d become a regular of Todoroki’s almost immediately, rarely ever requesting anyone else.

All the blood and violence and killing built up the pressure, and a hard fuck released it. And God, Todoroki was a good goddamn release.

 

---

 

Bakugou towelled off his hair, looking at his obscured figure in the bathroom mirror through a coat of steam. He prodded at the crescent of purple under his eye and hissed. At least he was clean now. He hated how fucking messy he got when he was out running errands for Shigaraki.

Towel around his waist and cigarette in hand, he sat at the small table at the edge of the hotel room and watched Todoroki sleep. God, the man was so fucking pretty. His legs were tangled in the sheets, and Bakugou’s eyes trailed possessively up the curve of his ass, lingering on the marks he’d left there, up his side and over the bite marks on his shoulder, to his neck. As his eyes rested there he found himself growing angry, thinking about other seedy men with their mouths pressed there, nipping at his soft flesh. He knew it happened, knew it was Todoroki’s job, but he couldn’t fucking stand thinking about it.

But Bakugou always got what he wanted. Always. He made sure of it. And he’d do the same with Todoroki.

He ashed his cigarette and made his way over to the bed, dropping his towel and curling around Todoroki. He grabbed his waist, pushing Todoroki’s ass back into him, and placed his open mouth on the back of Todoroki’s neck. Todoroki shifted and whined a little but didn’t wake up. Bakugou started moving against him but quickly found his eyelids fluttering closed of their own accord. He was so warm next to Todoroki, and the other man’s breathing was so slow and even that without even realizing it his breath began to match it and he was drifting off, past the black of sleep and into eventual nightmares of phantom flames and death.

His head ached when he woke the next morning, a dizzying throb behind his black eye. He groaned and shoved his head into the pillow.

“Should I just take it out of your wallet?”

“Hrm?”

Bakugou rolled over and noticed that Todoroki wasn’t in bed anymore. He was standing at the dresser, fully dressed, holding up Bakugou’s wallet.

“Yeah, whatever.”

“I don’t really have a price point for ‘unwilling accomplice to murder,’ so I’ll just settle on double the normal amount,” he said, counting out crisp hundreds.

Bakugou threw a pillow at him. “Shitty accomplice,” he hissed, his voice gravelly with sleep. “Y’didn’t do shit.”

“Okay. Call it a kidnapping fee then.”

“Fuck you, IcyHot. Y’wanna know what it’s actually like bein’ kidnapped by me?” Bakugou sat up and yawned. “Cause it ain’t pretty.”

“Yeah, I think I’ll pass on that one.” He pocketed his wad of cash. “No surprises next time. You want me for the entire night, you tell me beforehand. If we’re going anywhere other than the hotel room, you tell me beforehand. If something like this happens again, I’ll have to go to Yagi. Understood?”

“How much for you to not fuck anyone else?”

“Bakugou, are you even listening to-- wait, what ?”

“Only me. How much for you to only fuck me?”

Todoroki shook his head. “I told you last night, Bakugou. I don’t belong to you.”

“What if I pay you double what you normally make? Triple?” Bakugou’s eyes gleamed dangerously with want.

“No.” Todoroki’s voice was raised, just enough to convey that he wasn’t going to budge.

Bakugou grabbed the lamp on the bedside table and chucked it in Todoroki’s direction. Todoroki calmly stepped to the side and it slammed into the wall, shattering all over the dresser and the floor.

Todoroki strode to the door, opened it, and stood still for a second, facing away from Bakugou.

“Some advice? Don’t alienate the only people who are willing to put up with your bullshit.”

He slammed the door behind him and left Bakugou alone in bed, panting, nostrils flared and chest hot with rage.

The sound of his phone vibrating on the dresser pulled him back into the present, and he trudged across the room to it, shaking shards of ceramic from the broken lamp off of it before picking up.

“Yeah?”

A stern, overbearing voice spoke on the other line, and Bakugou rolled his eyes.

“We need to talk, Bakugou. I’ve been hearing things that are concerning.”

“Yeah, like what, Iida?”

“That’s Commissioner Iida to you, Bakugou.”

Bakugou ignored him. “What kind of things?”

“Things about you. As well as slightly more pressing matters. But I won’t talk about this over the phone. Can you be at the usual spot in two hours?”

“Yeah, yeah, Four-Eyes, I’ll be there.”

“Good.”

The line went silent, and Bakugou sighed, going to put his phone down on the wrecked dresser and then thinking twice about it, tossing it on the bed instead while he got dressed in his old, filthy clothes.

Never a fucking break. There was always someone who needed his attention. Between the League itself, the goddamn city cops that the League had paid off, and his own squad, he was rarely ever able to just turn off for a moment. His brief and intermittent rendezvous with Todoroki had come close, but now the thought of him just sent more white-hot spikes of anger through his system.

He stopped at the apartment he shared with his four top cronies on the way to change into clothes that weren’t caked in blood. It was a cramped shithole, but he wasn’t there that often, out on jobs most nights or opting to stay at a hotel instead.

He could smell the sour haze of weed from the hallway in the apartment complex, and when he opened the door Kaminari and Jirou waved lazily at him from the couch where they were playing a first-person shooter.

“Hey boss!” Kaminari beamed. “Where ya been?”

“Out,” he said. “Gimme some of that.”

Denki reached over and handed Bakugou the blunt he’d been smoking. Bakugou sucked a long hit out of it and then handed it back, and the smoke leaked out of his nose and mouth as he spoke. “I’m going out.”

“Damn, boss, you ever gonna just chill here anymore?”

“Maybe if this place wasn’t so much of a trash heap, Denki. And if I’m chilling I’m not getting shit done. So I’ll pass.”

Kaminari made a teasing face in response as Bakugou walked to his room.

On his way out, in fresh fitted pants and a form-fitting sweater, Jirou stopped him. “We allowed to ask about the black eye?”

“Shigaraki needed me to take some guys out, so I did.”

“Come on , boss, we keep telling you to stop doing that shit alone. What if something were to happen to you?”

Bakugou rolled his eyes. “I wasn’t alone. Now piss off.” He ignored the confused look Jirou gave Denki as he slammed the door behind him.

 

---

 

Iida and Bakugou’s go-to meeting spot was a lightly-trafficked seedy diner on the outskirts of the city. When Bakugou entered he saw him seated at a booth, his hands folded together primly on the table. He was wearing plain clothes to detract from any unease or unwanted attention that a cop in this part of the city might attract. Bakugou slid in across from him and ordered coffee and a spicy breakfast hash.

“So, what’s the occasion, Iida?” Bakugou asked.

“A few things.” He adjusted his glasses. “First, you need to stop making it so easy for us to identify you at crime scenes.”

Bakugou crossed his arms. “No idea what you’re talking about.”

Iida gave him a harsh, knowing look. “Last night’s little warehouse incident, for example. Your blood is on the scene. You’re in the security footage, Bakugou.” Bakugou scoffed. “Not to mention your signature style of attack,” Iida continued, jabbing a hand in his direction. “Detonated weapons.”

“You’re gonna need to talk to Shigaraki then. He’s the one who sent me on such short notice.”

“You need to get smarter about what you’re doing out there, Bakugou. There’s only so much evidence I can obfuscate or destroy before things start looking suspicious.” Iida sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose.

“It’s not like I can just say no to the League when they pull this shit on me. You know how they are.”

“Yes, I know. Just, I don’t know, call me next time before you run into something on such short notice. I could have at least told you where the security cameras were beforehand.”

“That’s fair.”

The pair were silent for a moment as the waitress refilled their coffees and set their food down. Iida gave her a smile and a gracious thank you, but Bakugou just frowned, sipped his coffee, and spat, “you got anything hotter than this lukewarm piss?”

Iida flailed his arms around in the air emphatically. “He doesn’t mean that, ma’am, sorry, he’s just a little grumpy today is all--”

“GRUMPY?!” Bakugou yelled, and the waitress jumped and walked away hurriedly.

“Sullen as a toddler, Bakugou. It’s dishonorable.”

“Honor is the last thing I give a fuck about, Four-Eyes.”

Iida sipped thoughtfully at his coffee for a moment. “That brings you me to the next thing I wanted to talk to you about.” All sense of lightheartedness left his tone of voice and Bakugou noticed it, sitting up a little bit straighter and listening more intently.

“There’s a vigilante killer a couple cities over. Takes down gangs, crime syndicates, the like. Have you heard of him?”

Bakugou shook his head.

“We were keeping an eye on his case, just because you can never be too careful. And I’m glad we did, because your little stunt wasn’t our biggest problem last night. This guy took down an entire small upstart gang, apparently on his own, in the city last night.”

“Shit,” Bakugou muttered.

“He calls himself Stain. Vigilante justice, ridding cities of crime, all of that. And technically, I suppose he’s on the cops’ side, but he took out some cops in that other city too, so…”

“So what you’re saying is he’s going after corrupt cops too, not just street criminals.”

“From what we know about him, he’s got an entire honor code, like a manifesto. And the scene he left for us was… grisly. Just be careful out there, Bakugou. We’re doing our best to track him down but he’s slippery. I wasn’t expecting him to show up in our city but I guess that’s just how it is now. If anything ever feels off, you call me, all right? I’ll let you know whenever we find out more about him.”

Bakugou nodded. “The League know about this yet?”

“I don’t know. I haven’t been in contact with them. I prefer talking to you, if I’m being totally honest. Which is saying something,” he added under his breath.

“I think I’m gonna keep this just between us and my men. I wouldn’t really mind if Stain got to some of the League. It’d give me some more goddamn wiggle room.”

“Once they’ve got you, it’s really like a vice grip, isn’t it?” Iida said, sighing.

“Yeah. Something like that.”